GOP Budget Writer Tom Price’s ‘Townhall’ Turns Into A Circus, And He’s The Head Clown


The National Congressional Republican committee decided to get awfully brave this week and offer Facebookers a chance to ask Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) questions about his recent budget proposal.

Price offered little insight into his big plans to screw the working poor and the middle class while ensuring the continued rise in income inequality in favor of the 1%.

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Price’s answers followed the lies and rhetoric the right has perpetuated for years about Obamacare, food stamps, Medicaid and Medicare, and when the going got rough, Price got out.

Price began answering questions at 5:36 p.m., jotted down a few statements when no question was asked, and removed himself at 5:55 p.m., giving his constituents a full 19 minutes to confront him. The Q and A was unannounced beforehand.


 

Highlights of Tom Price’s Facebook Townhall:


 

Alex Bodigheimer of Hermiston, Oregon asked, “What programs do you intend to cut in order to reach a $5.5 trillion reduction in spending?”

Price pulled out all the stops and went right after the talking points the GOP loves to hate:

We would repeal Obamacare and replace it with a patient centered healthsystem(sic) where pts(sic)/families/doctors are making medical decisions, not Washington DC – allow complete state flexibility with Medicaid and SNAP – require able bodied adults receiving federal assistance to work – huge savings come from each of these.

They would repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with. . . nothing. There is no GOP plan for the day after 16 million people lose their health insurance. Toss in some doom and gloom about Obamacare making medical decisions for people and the ‘heck yeahs’ from the GOP base will go into full swing.

Then toss in some more rhetoric about those lazy people on Food stamps. Give red states the flexibility to remove as many people from the SNAP and Medicaid and watch as corporate campaign donors get privatized contracts for food banks and clinics.


 

Lauren Zeitler from Washington, DC asked Price, “What do you mean by a fairer, simpler tax code?

Price responded:

Hey Lauren – our tax code is ridiculously complex and contradictory. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to do your taxes on a small card – real simple. Americans waste billions, literally, of hours/year just doing their taxes. Lower, flatter, broader, fairer! that’s the key.

Yes, you too can have your deductions eliminated while the wealthy pay a flat tax on the income they can’t hide. If you get a payroll check, color yourself screwed while the 1% moves their income to capital gains in order to pay a lower rate than you or offshore to avid paying altogether.

Don’t worry, though, the handy little card will save billions and billions of hours.

Literally.


 

David Arias of Arlington, Virginia asked, “Can you give some examples of redundancies and waste in the current program?”

Price’s response:

tens of pre-k programs; tens of programs for job assistance – all well intentioned – but terribly duplicative. we could easily provide the service needed at a much more effective , efficient manner.

The first question rolled out reasons for saving the wealthy a boatload of tax money, this one answers why in a million years a budget would eliminate pre-K and jobs program funding. Price’s standard “there’s more than one, so we don’t need them” answer is typical of republicans looking to take away education and jobs spending from the American taxpayer.


 

Michael Escoto of Arlington, Virginia asked, “What do you mean by “structural improvements” to Medicare?”

Price answered with lies:

under current law, Medicare is becoming broke – that means if no changes occur, seniors will not be able to receive the benefits promised to them. we believe that to be irresponsible. we would move Medicare to a system where seniors have many more choices to select the kind of health coverage that best suits their needs – not the governments’. the coverage would be guaranteed and traditional Medicare would be an option – greater choices for patients and docs – that’s the way to get the system moving in the right direction.

Medicare isn’t going broke. That myth, debunked by Politifact, is straight out of Paul Ryan’s playbook. Price’s budget turns Medicare into a voucher program.


 

After the full 19 minutes, the staged questions having been answered, the congressman disappeared to “do more prep” for his bill in committee the next day. This obvious PR stunt was nowhere near over, however, with people chiming in for hours afterwards calling Price out for his lies, asking tough questions that wouldn’t be answered and posting hilarious memes mocking him and the GOP.

I highly recommend visiting the thread and joining the fun. It’s a circus over there, and Price is the head clown.

All comments are public posts on the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Facebook page.

Featured Image by Charles Topher

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